Ditshiping residents fear relocated reptiles
Text breaker — “Our lives are in danger. When these crocodile spot a human being and a canoe, all they see is meat!”
Residents of Ditshiping settlement have been unsettled by the recent relocation of a big crocodile from the bone-dry Thamalakane River to the village’s Santantadibe stream.
Concerned villagers expressed their fear during a heated kgotla meeting last Friday.
“There is a big problem in the river. We may be eaten by the crocodile when we fetch water from the stream!” warned Kenayang Ditshupegetso, a part time poler who often takes tourists on canoe trips through the overgrown reeds in the river’s increasingly shallow waters.
Ditshupegetso is worried the latest addition will not settle.
“We do have big crocodiles in the river, but we co-exist with them in peace. They understand us and we understand them. When they see a canoe, they give way because they know we are harmless. But these new crocodiles are so untamed. They unleash vicious attacks at the very first site of a moving object.”
Another resident, Charles Manga expressed similar sentiments.
“We are worried because in recent years we’ve had accidents at the river involving crocodiles and Ditshiping residents. In one case a young man was eaten by a crocodile and not a single piece of his remains was ever recovered!”
Manga said the community suspect the attacks are mostly perpetrated by the new comers, which are occasionally brought in by Wildlife officers.
“They should at least warn us about these movements so that we may be alert. The animals are important to us as well because tourists come here to see them. But we do not want to expose ourselves and our clients to danger,” he maintained.
According to Manga, in recent weeks a number of polers were attacked and their canoes overturned by irritable hippos in the same river.
He insists this habit only began after the wildlife department started relocating animals from Thamalakane River in Maun to Santantadibe.
The tight-knit community are united in their belief that such dangerous animals should be placed deeper in the Okavango Delta and not so close to human habitats.
“Our lives are in danger. When these crocodile spot a human being and a canoe, all they see is meat!” concluded Manga desperately.